Have you ever listened to people eat?
I’m in the airport – O’Hare, with the crappiest amenities of any airport I frequent – at a frigging Chili’s listening to the sounds of people eating.
Once you pay attention, you can’t avoid them. Crunching and smacking, slurping and chomping, all at a clip that does not indicate mindful eating.
After much debate, I didn’t order the grilled salmon (though ironically, that’s what sounded good) in favor of chips and skillet queso, a side salad, and water. The stupidly high premium they put on the one healthy entree pissed me off — so I showed ’em by clogging my arteries, padding my ass further, and eating my meal through guilt.
Sunday nights at the airport are the hardest for me. I love my job, but leaving my husband and the crew on our happy weekend – and knowing I chose this life – make me feel a little lost. By tomorrow I’ll be back in the throes of work and relieved to be out of my home office, where I see not the coworkers for whom I have great respect and shared accountability but the dogs and cats and outdoors wanting me to come play. Every day in my home office is a struggle to not nap, play hooky, or lose the entire day in endless and disrtacting emails.
But tonight, I’m wishing I didn’t need to leave my family to go to work. And that I didn’t need this work to make me feel human.
For months now I’ve been sitting with the idea of SAHM’ness. For me, that is. For you, I don’t care. You make your own choices based on a life that’s only yours to live and therefore only yours to judge. I think right or wrong is relative and people make the best choices they can.
I’d never seriously considered staying at home with my kids. For one thing, I was raised by a divorced mom, saw my dad on alternate weekends, and turned out fine. For another, I’d always been the primary breadwinner. And? I don’t really like kids.
Actually, I do like kids. I like your kids because they’re cute and silly and funny and I can give them back. I like kids sitting next to me on planes, people. I like kids. But once upon a time I taught gymnastics to toddlers. It didn’t go well. See, I’m not fun. I’m smart and interesting and funny — sometimes even silly — but not fun.
I’ve been given the idea due consideration because I make more money than my husband so we’d need a few years to plan if I wanted to stay home for a long time. And you know? I don’t. I think some people are meant to be in that role and I don’t think I’m one of them.
So while I reserve the right to change my mind when I have my own kids, I don’t expect to want to be a SAHM for any long length of time. A year? Yea, that’d be cool. A decade? Doubtful.
Call me selfish if you will, but the version of me I am when I’m working at something I love is fantastic. My job, I believe, is to be the best me I can be so my kids can follow my example — the best wife, friend, daughter, sister, worker and mother. I want them to be the fantastic version of themselves.
So I’ll keep doing this job that pushes me to be a better version of myself and if things change, they change. For now, I’ll just accept that no decision is easy when it’s important.